Check if Bulb is able to install a smart meter

We're offering smart meters to people we think are most likely to have a successful installation. 

When you book an installation, we'll check that we have the right meters for your home, that there's enough space for the engineer to work safely, and that your home has a strong enough signal from the smart meter network.

Before you book an appointment, you can find out:

Making sure your installation goes smoothly 

To help make sure your installation is a success, you can check the following things before you make an appointment. If any one of these is a problem, the engineer will have trouble installing your smart meter.

Check your meters are easy to access

The engineer needs a clear space to remove your old meter and fit your new smart meter, so you'll need to move anything that might get in the way. 

Your meter is easy to access if:

  • it's got about 30cm (1ft) of space around it on each side
  • it's no higher than 2.5 metres (8ft) off the ground
  • nothing is blocking it, like fixed panelling
  • it's not locked inside a cupboard - so if you live in a shared building, make sure the engineer can get access
  • it's not in a metal box - some electricity meters are stored in a metal box that disrupts the signal that lets the meter send readings back to Bulb

Check your gas and electricity meters are less than 10 metres (32ft) apart 

Smart gas meters can only send their signal a short distance. And they need to be able to talk to your electricity meter to send readings to your Bulb account. If they’re further apart, we won't be able to install smart meters yet.

Make sure the engineer can turn off your energy supply for a short while

As part of the installation, the engineer will need to turn off your gas and electricity for around 20 minutes each. If you have medical equipment that needs to remain on and you don't have a generator to power it, we can't install a smart meter for you right now.

Check that you have access to the main fuse switch for electricity

This is where you can turn off the electricity supply for your home. If you live in a flat, it could be behind a locked door, so you might need to contact the building manager in advance to ensure you have access on the day.

Make sure you can get to your gas boiler easily

The engineer will check your gas supply by turning your gas back on, and re-lighting any pilot lights. If they can’t get to your boiler for the final safety check, they won't be able to install your smart meters.

Check that someone aged 18 or over can stay home for the whole appointment

The installation itself can take up to 3 hours. The engineer will call in advance to give you a rough arrival time. 

Make sure the engineer can park close by

The engineer may need heavy equipment for the installation, so it's essential they can park near your property. If it's not obvious where they should park, you can explain when they call before their visit.

The engineer will pay parking fees if the nearest parking is a car park or Pay and Display. If they'll need a permit to park nearby, you’ll have to provide one. You can usually get permits from your local council.

Reasons why the installation might not work

Unfortunately, there are a few things beyond our control that may prevent a successful smart meter installation.

If we find any reasons that could mean your installation won't work, we’ll remove the option to book an appointment from your Bulb account. 

Common reasons include:

  • Poor network coverage in your area. Smart meters send readings to your Bulb account over a dedicated nationwide network (the ‘Wide Area Network’, or WAN). Currently, only certain parts of the UK have the right signal coverage for smart meters. We'll be in touch when it arrives in your area.
  • You have a top up (prepay) meter. We’re not installing smart top up meters yet. But when we are, we’ll be in touch to invite you to book an installation. If you want to pay for your energy monthly by Direct Debit, we might be able to install a smart meter, but you’ll need a credit check first. Get in touch if you want to arrange this.
  • We’re still processing your switch to Bulb. Once your switch has gone through and your Bulb account is set up, you’ll be able to book an installation.

The engineer will run checks on the day

The engineers have experience fitting smart meters in a wide range of homes and situations. They’ll do everything they can to make the installation a success. 

Occasionally, they’ll identify a situation we couldn’t predict. For example:

  • your home has extremely thick walls, which can stop your smart meters from sending readings to your Bulb account - the engineer may need to stop the installation or your new smart meters will stay in ‘dumb’ mode while we work on a solution
  • there's a problem with your main supply fuse or your meter's on an asbestos backboard - we’ll need to talk to the local distribution network operator (DNO) to arrange for one of their engineers to visit you

If they can't complete the installation safely or successfully, they'll explain why and we'll be in touch as soon as we've found a solution.

Find out what to expect on the day of the installation

We've got some more advice on what you can do to prepare for your smart meter installation.

We’re happy to say that the majority of cases go smoothly, but we hope you’ll bear with us when things are beyond our control.

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